Restaurant review: Campechano Taqueria

The no-fuss taqueria on Adelaide proving that it has some serious Mexican street cred


What's the vibe?

There’s nothing more refreshing than a taqueria done right. And in Toronto, just a bit too far north of a prosperous Mexican population, itseems we’ve been missing out on what our American friends down south have reveled in for so long. Good thing chef Daniel Roe is from Mexico City. Campechano, the joint venture between Roe (ex-La Carnita and Black Hoof) his cousin Javier Flores, (who knows his way around a taqueria as he owns a few in Mexico), and their partner Raena Fisher is the North’s answer to darn good taco. Food aside, the murals adorning the walls of this 43-seater resto—the Virgin of Guadalupe, a gargantuan Mexican Coke botilla and a traditional nixtamal mill—transport you far, far from Adelaide Street West.

What to drink?

With a drink menu that’s no-frills, we urge you to start with their take on a Paloma, Mexico’s most beloved cocktail. It’s a light start made with Squirt grapefruit soda imported from Mexico, a shot of 1800 Silver Tequila, Angostura bitters and lime. After that, move on to the classics: a Margarita or their killer Sangria, which combines Campechano’s own house red, Heering cherry liqueur and Squirt. The Cuba Libre, a good choice for during-the-meal sipping, is only served with Mexican cola, which is sweetened with sugar cane. (No high-fructose corn syrup here.)

What to eat?

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Before delving into the tacos, skip the guac and go straight for the ceviche. Served atop a crunchy, deep-fried tortilla, the lime-cooked sea bass and shrimp are truly the stars of the show and even non-ceviche goers won’t know what hit them. One bite into your first taco and you’ll understand why Campechano’s got real street cred. Their tortillas, made by grinding corn through a nixtamal mill imported from Mexico (as seen on the murals), yield super soft, gluten-free bases and are topped with a wide array of toppings ranging from chorizo to rib eye. Not sure where to start? Lucky for you we've mapped out your taco journey: start with the Rajas con Crema (no doubt the most flavour-infused vegetarian taco you’ll ever try), followed by the Tinga de pollo (tender morita chicken), and the Pescado (fried, battered sea bass). Finally, finish with the Barbacoa de Borrego (juicy, braised lamb leg that does anything but contain itself in that shell).

Dinner and drinks for two: Around $95

504 Adelaide Street West; 416-777-2800;